Lung tumor development and spontaneous regression in lambs coinfected with Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus and ovine lentivirus

Vet Pathol. 2010 Jan;47(1):148-62. doi: 10.1177/0300985809352787.


Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA) is a naturally occurring and experimentally inducible lung cancer of sheep caused by Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV). The first aim of this study was to monitor the development of OPA with minimally invasive, real-time observations of animals experimentally infected with JSRV as well as ovine lentivirus (maedi-visna virus). Worldwide, simultaneous infection of sheep with these 2 retroviruses is a common occurrence, naturally and experimentally; consequently, the lung tumor homogenates used as inocula contained both viruses. Following inoculation, computed tomography was used to detect tumor nodules early, before the onset of clinical signs, and to monitor tumor advancement. However, not only was OPA disease progression observed, but the apparent spontaneous regression of OPA was witnessed. In fact, regression was more common than progression following JSRV inoculation of neonatal lambs. Immune responses were detected, particularly involving CD3(+) T cells and the production of antibodies against JSRV that may mediate the spontaneous regression of JSRV-induced OPA. The second aim of this study was to determine whether OPA tumors harbor genetic alterations similar to those found in human lung adenocarcinoma. No mutations were found in the tyrosine kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor, KRAS codons 12 and 13, or the DNA-binding domain of p53 in tumor DNA from naturally occurring and experimentally-induced OPA cases. Overall, the genetic profile combined with the disease development data provides further important characterization of OPA and describes, for the first time, spontaneous regression of OPA tumors in experimentally infected sheep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Female
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus* / genetics
  • Lentivirus Infections / pathology
  • Lentivirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Lentivirus Infections / virology
  • Lentiviruses, Ovine-Caprine* / genetics
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Lung Neoplasms / virology
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Neoplasm Regression, Spontaneous / pathology
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Ovine / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Ovine / virology
  • Sheep / virology
  • Sheep Diseases / pathology
  • Sheep Diseases / virology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • DNA, Viral